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Serial breeding: the heavy burden of 34

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Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a three-point series.

Spiritual teacher and life coach Iyanla Vanzant has been fixing lives on the OWN Network for two years (four seasons) with her show Iyanla: Fix My Life. From celebrities (Maia Campbell from the show In the House and former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens) to entire communities (Ferguson), Vanzant’s purpose is to heal. Her latest rescue mission involves Jay Williams, a music industry producer who biologically fathered 34 children from 17 different women and has “adopted” nine more from a number of the mothers of his children.

Part one of the three-part episode aired Sept. 6 with Vanzant and Williams focusing on his relationship with his parents, unearthing the pains that he said that they gave him to try to explain why he felt the need to procreate with reckless abandon.

The most powerful scene from the episode is the one OWN used for the promotion of the episode when Vanzant insisted to Williams to pick up as many of the 32 dolls as he can. Williams was only able to hold 14. You can see the clip below.

Williams is only but an example of a serial breeder. Arizona Cardinals defensive back Antonio Cromartie who is believed to have 12 children from eight different women. This Hard Knocks clip from 2010 when he’s naming his children is stuff of legend.

Most also remember Tennessee man Desmond Hatchett, when story broke in 2012 that he had fathered 30 children with 11 different women. A  later report disputed the claim — Hatchett only has 24 children. Just last year, another Tennessee man, Orlando Shaw, was reported to have 22 children by 14 women.
“I was just young and ambitious and I loved women. You can’t knock no man for loving women. … What I didn’t know, when I turned 33, everything I did from 16 to 18 is biting me now.”
-Orlando Shaw, as quoted by the ‘N.Y. Daily News.’

It’s no surprise that both Hatchett and Shaw made news because both were in court for non-payment of child support (although later reports stated that Hatchett was jailed at the time of supposed court date). So while Hatchett finished his jail stint, Shaw was being eyed for a reality TV show.

As a childless black man, I can’t fathom the idea of having that many children in a marriage setting, let alone with that many random women. The burden is heavy, Williams demonstrated it by only managing 14 dolls at once. There were 20 other dolls he couldn’t carry. For the 14 lives he can carry — there are 20 others that get neglected.

For others such as Hatchett and Shaw, the financial load is too massive to bare.



  1. […] Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a three-part series hypothesizing on the black male procreation practice of having multiple children by multiple women. Part 1 can be read here. […]

  2. […] note: This is part 3 of a three-part commentary on serial breeding. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 […]

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